Friday, February 06, 2009

Question from Jaddasroots - Superstitions, etc. relating to crime and punishment

I'm doing a research project on Crime and Travel.

I've found several articles on Crimes and their punishments, all of which I've deemed really violent...
Such as burning a Criminals thumb with a hot iron, so if they are caught again they may be shown no mercy.

I am guessing that the punishments were made to scare people into staying out of crime but people still comitted them.

Was there any superstitions involved with the punishments? And who would write the crimes?

1 comment:

Bearded Lady said...

Well, I guess this is probably obvious, but the torture of witches was deeply rooted in superstitions. (ie. dunking them in water in the superstitious belief that a witch floats. If the person drowned...they were good. ) Many of these practices can be found in The Malleus Maleficarum or Hammer of the Witches. It’s basically a field guide on how to identify, interrogate and convict witches. You will find lots of sometimes lewd and creative torture in it.

As far as the crime part goes, many historians have argued that women were predominantly persecuted in the witch hunts because they dabbled in areas that were still viewed as more superstitious than science (ex. Healing arts, and midwifery). I am sure you could find tons of compelling links between the two. Good luck in your research!